Kids grow fast; leaving behind piles of outgrown clothes and toys.
Consign them and you not only clean out their closets, you clean up some cash.
Sprinkled throughout the North Shore are several good children’s resale stores that buy upfront or accept items for consignment. Contact each store for their specific policies.
And while you’re there, you’ll find high-quality children’s clothing and toys for a fraction of retail prices. What’s not to love?
Here are 5 favorites:
1. Encore Outfitters
942 Harlem Ave., Glenview, IL
Karen Kikos’ Encore Outfitters is bright, fresh and boutique-like, and has the distinction of being the North Shore’s only teenage consignment store.
They buy: Better, trendy name brands of juniors and young men’s clothing, accessories, electronics, video games and room décor.
You’ll find: Abercrombie & Fitch, Juicy, Lucky, Urban Outfitters, Adidas, Xbox games, $10 new sunglasses.
Buyer tips: Come prepared to stock up on well-made clothes for a low price, 50% to 70% off retail.
Seller tips: Clothes should be good-to-go, stain-free and flaw-free.
2. Hand Me Downs
614 Dempster St., Evanston, IL
Owner Monica Williams has forged powerful connections with her customers for over 30 years. Grandmas who depended on this store as young moms thank her, overjoyed that they can now shop here for their grandchildren.
They buy: Better-quality children’s clothes in newborn-14 for boys and newborn-10 for girls, educational and “traditional” toys, baby equipment, toddler and crib bedding.
You’ll find: Hanna Andersen, North Face and Mini Boden, toys by Fisher Price and Melissa & Doug, books, safety-tested, recall-checked equipment, bikes.
Buyer tips: Come often; inventory is fluid. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, ask about the wish list.
Seller tips: Denim, pants, shorts, dressy clothes, matched sets and winter outerwear sell well, shirts don’t.
3. My Mommy’s Secret
1105 Central Ave., Wilmette, IL
This posh resale boutique in East Wilmette mixes old and new with a heart for philanthropy. “We offer charity consignment accounts,” says owner Corey Widen. Funds can be designated to a favorite charity, while your “special” pieces are well-cared for, and not lost in a rummage-sale pile.
They take: Better and boutique brands of kids’ clothing newborn-16, better maternity wear, upscale toys, books, games, baby equipment.
You’ll find: Brand new designer samples, Lily Pulitzer, Bella Bliss, and Kitestrings, “Mommy Recommended” items like Piggy Paints toe polish, wooden toys, vintage children’s clothing.
Buyer Tips: Better-quality clothes can be re-consigned, so you earn back your investment.
Seller Tips: Bring in clothes folded and freshly washed. Gap and Gymboree are accepted for boys.
Editor’s Note: My Mommy’s Secret closed end of August 2012.
4. The Second Child
954 W. Armitage, Chicago, IL
Over the last 25 years, The Second Child owner Amy Helgren has seen many changes in her Lincoln Park neighborhood, but her devotion to her customers is the same: “I’ve always felt better about making a customer than a sale. We don’t claim to be cheap, but what we are is a very good value.”
They buy: Upscale kids’ brands newborn-14, Ralph Lauren and above, current designer maternity, educational toys, recall-free, safety-approved baby equipment.
You’ll find: Lili Gaufrette, Charlie Rocket, and Papadagio, American Girl Dolls and Brio Trains, nearly new kids’ furniture.
Seller Tips: More upfront work into your clothes equals a better chance of selling them. Anything they can’t sell is donated to charities here and abroad.
Buyer Tips: Know your kids’ size. If you can’t bring your child, bring in something that fits. When you see a good buy, get it.
5. Still Adorable
995 Waukegan Rd, Glenview, IL
When some customers wander into this Glenview store they’re surprised to learn it’s resale, because everything looks so new. Owner Alicja Gorska says, “We have a selection of unique brands here, boutique things and stuff from Europe— like France, Spain or Greece.”
They buy: Upscale brands of children’ clothing in sizes newborn-12, designer maternity clothing, toys, DVDs, books, baby equipment, small furniture and room décor.
You’ll find: Kids’ clothes from Gymboree to European designer brands, handmade girls’ hair accessories, toys and books.
Buyer tips: Check sizes, and look at the next size up since sizes vary widely by brand.
Seller tips: Try to examine your clothes carefully, without sentimental attachment. Ask yourself, “Would I buy this in the store?”